HELENA – Governor Steve Bullock today announced that the city of Columbus has been approved for a $1.9 million State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan to modernize and repair wastewater infrastructure. Thanks to the State of Montana’s strong credit rating and Governor Bullock’s decision to reduce SRF interest rates from 3% to 2.5%, Columbus ratepayers will save $640,000 over the life of the loan.
“Through strong fiscal management and a bit of common sense, we’re ensuring ratepayers in Columbus can keep more money in their pockets while making critical infrastructure upgrades. These upgrades will help to support important economic development in the community,” Bullock said of the loan. “We’ll continue to work with local communities to find responsible ways to make critical infrastructure improvements, and save money for Main Street Montana businesses and customers.”
Using the new loan, Columbus will inspect municipal sewer lines via closed circuit TV and replace an estimated 22,000 linear feet of deteriorating clay sewer mains. The city will also modernize its effluent discharge system to meet new regulations.
To finance the improvements, Columbus will borrow $1.9 million from the SRF loan program for 20 years at 2.5% interest. The city will also refinance an earlier wastewater loan from 1999, reducing the interest rate from 4.375%to 2.5%.
The changes to the SRF interest rate were made in 2014 as part of Bullock’s Main Street Montana Project. He reduced long-term interest rates from 3% to 2.5%, and reduced construction interest rates from 3% to 1.5%. In addition, he reduced the amount of financial reserves communities must hold in order to receive a loan, and reduced the debt-service coverage communities must have.
The Main Street Montana Project is building and implementing a business plan for the state of Montana that helps businesses grow, supports job creation, and increases wages. One of the goals of the project is to ensure Montana businesses and communities have efficient and reliable infrastructure.
Planned and Engineered Construction, Inc. of Helena has been awarded the bid for the Columbus project, which is expected to be completed in December of 2016.
Bullock noted the State Revolving Fund loan program administered by DNRC and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) enables Montana communities to upgrade or expand critical drinking- or wastewater treatment facilities at the lowest possible cost.
For more information on the State Revolving Fund program, contact Anna Miller of DNRC at (406) 444-6689, or visit the Montana DNRC Web site at http://dnrc.mt.gov/.